Alexander Stubb, the former prime minister of Finland, on Tuesday said he would stand in next year’s presidential elections.
Finland’s Prime Minister Petteri Orpo made the announcement on Monday afternoon following the conclusion of a party leadership meeting.
“He is clearly the strongest of our very good candidates, and we are prepared to work hard for him,” Orpo told Finnish public broadcaster Yle.
Now that he has accepted the party’s nomination, Stubb will enter the race against current favourite and ex-foreign minister Pekka Haavisto (Green), Bank of Finland governor Olli Rehn, former Finns Party leader Jussi Halla-aho, and foreign policy expert Mika Aaltola, among others.
The first round of Finland’s presidential election is due on January 28 next year. A run-off between top two contenders will be held on February 11 if none of the candidates wins more than 50 percent of votes.
Stubb is a well-known figure in Brussels, where he served as a diplomat in Finland’s permanent representation before working as an adviser to Commission President Romano Prodi from 2001 to 2003. Stubb was a member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2008.
The Ironman triathlete later worked in the Finnish government as minister of foreign affairs, then minister of European affairs, and was prime minister from 2014 to 2015 before the National Coalition Party (NCP) came second to the Centre Party in parliamentary elections. He then served as Finance Minister before losing a party leadership contest to Orpo at the NCP’s 2016 party conference.
In 2018, Stubb announced his candidacy for the center-right European People’s Party (EPP) nomination for President of the European Commission, but ultimately lost in an election against Manfred Weber.
Following a stint as Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, Stubb now leads the European University Institute’s School of Transnational Governance in Florence.